Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Gradual Loss Of Parenthood Skills

My brother, Harry, and his wife, Buddy, have become new parents about a week ago with the arrival of a healthy baby boy—the dragon boy, as Harry would put it. I'm assuming that he was referring to the year of the dragon; and nothing to do with Bruce Lee, the kung fu legend. 

Both Harry and Buddy are working parents, and it has become inevitable that while they're at work someone will have to look after their child. For many young couples these days, it would usually mean either sending the child to the grandparents or to a nursery. In some cases it is possible that the wives may opt to become full-time housewives so that they can take full charge of looking after their children. But for many couples, that is not even possible since both parents will have to work to make ends meet.

About 10 years ago, when JJ was born, Mia and I were new parents too, and we tried to get her mom to help us out for the first couple of weeks. But her dad would not allow it. For a while, we were quite disappointed. But later on, we thought it was good that we had to do everything on our own. 

The truth is that it's not that we were unwilling to carry out the chores that come together with parenthood; rather it's the skill that we did not have. I was of course willing to play my part in handling the baby, but how my heart rate shot through the roof every time I held JJ in my arms—she was so soft like jelly, and I kept forgetting to support her neck the first few times when I carried her. It's quite a wonder how she survived that first few days without daddy breaking her neck!

Then of course there were the times when it was my turn to bathe her. Oh boy, that was even trickier, I tell you—it was hard enough dealing with a soft, jelly-like fragile little body, but to combine that with the slippery affair during the bath?—Oh! you don't want to know!

Not to mention about preparing her milk which became something akin to conducting a very sensitive scientific experiment in the lab. You'd need to get the mixture of powder and water just at the right proportions; and at the right temperature too.

Then came those nights when she just cried and cried for no apparent reason, and no amount of lullaby would help to calm her down. The panic of not knowing what to do; and we had to resist the temptation of seeking help from the paediatrician each time she cried like that.

Other lessons were not so terrifying though; in fact, they were amusing, like feeling very proud of myself for successfully putting the disposable diaper on her—and kept repeating that for a good month or so—until a lady friend saw how I did it, and was kind enough to tell me that the diaper should be worn the other way round.

Times have changed though. Young couples these days have someone who'd deal with their babies. Many daddies wouldn't have anything to do with the babies until they're nice and clean to play with. The bigger part of the daily chores—all those little seemingly insignificant things, but which are actually the joy of parenthood—would be lost to the grandparents, thus resulting in the gradual loss of parenthood skills.

It makes me wonder what would happen when this generation becomes old, and their children are all grown up and have babies of their own; who will deal with them then? For by then even the grandparents won't have the necessary skills. But then again, humans are very resilient creatures; we can adapt very quickly. I suppose when there is a need, they will figure it out somehow.

At least when my turn comes, I will gladly teach JJ how to deal with the diaper the correct way. Hopefully she will be able to figure out the rest.

Monday, October 29, 2012

A Dream That Survived The Dreamer

We have a number of shops selling sports products in Kota Kinabalu—a wide variety of sports gears ranging from footwear, outfits and accessories. But it's strange that some famous products are not readily available here, such as 2XU compression tights and outfits specifically for triathlons. It's true that one can buy online, but sometimes it's hard to know if a sportswear would fit comfortably without trying it on first. It would be best to have a shop selling these products here in KK.

That was basically why my friend, the late Andrew Voon, dreamt of opening a sports outlet in KK to bring these products closer to our local sports folks. He spent some months diligently preparing for the venture with a friend, researching on the products and laying the foundation on how best to bring them in to KK. Regretfully, however, his dream did not materialise because of his untimely death last year.

Teo Chen Lung—the born Kipas King who beat me in the sprint triathlon in Miri last year—the friend who had envisioned the sports outlet together with Andrew, spent the next year or so seeing the dream dying with the dreamer, until one fine day when he suddenly decided to revive it again. He brought in Paul and Douglas, and putting their heads together, they embarked on making the dream a reality.

After months of proper planning, Performance Sportz was officially opened for business yesterday morning. A dream that had survived the dreamer. It wasn't a grand opening accompanied by the kompangs or dragon dance. No—it was a quiet little affair and attended by close friends.

To mark the occasion, the owners organised a fun event, i.e. a choice between a 10km run or an approximate 32km cycling starting at about 6am at the car park of Performance Sportz at the Likas Golf Driving Range. It was a small crowd; mostly familiar faces. Before the start, we spent a few minutes taking photos.

It was just about getting bright, and it was a beautiful morning. The majestic Mt Kinabalu could be seen in the yonder. Sarah literally stood out from the rest; it's not easy to miss someone in such a bright outfit. Erwan was obviously pleased that he was among the ladies.

And when the ladies adopted a different pose, Erwan decided to mimic their pose too. I hope he did not get into trouble with the missus when he reached home after the run.

In the end, we were duly flagged off. Indeed the workout started as a fun run—we were doing a mild 5:45 mins space. We started out to the main road and made our way to the coastal highway through Jalan Istiadat. After passing the traffic lights, we crossed to the other side of the road. We were all still going at a slow pace.

And then kiasuness struck! Somehow, the pace became 5:30 mins, then 5:15 mins; and when we reached the coastal highway, we were mainly running sub-5mins pace. At first, I was in front of the pack, but I had to ease up a bit as I did not plan to burn out too soon. As expected Sarah eased to the leading position and was cruising at a neat 4:50 mins pace. Of course that was an extremely slow pace for Fabian, but on this morning, he was just playing the role of a marshal for the organiser. Upon reaching the long bridge, however, he suddenly increased his pace and ran up the slope to the roundabout on the other side. There, he stopped and ushered the rest to go along the outer perimeter of the roundabout.

Looking at my Garmin, I noticed that it was a under 5km at that point, so I decided to run a little further to the other side. I had intended to run a minimum 10km. The rest turned at that roundabout, and although I was not there to see the return leg, I can imagine how everyone must have raced against each other! Of course I have mentioned before that kiasuness is a terrible disease!

By the time I got back to the bridge again, the front pack was already out of sight. I had by then slowed down to about 5:15 mins pace. Along the way back to the finish line, I overtook some other runners who were also familiar faces on the road.

When I arrived at Performance Sportz again, all the animals were already there. Sarah, as expected, was the first to finish, followed by Judy, and then later Hana although she took the other route through the hills with Darren. 

Erwan won the men's category, but I think it must have been because he was trying very hard to impress all the ladies! He was followed by Dr Liaw and Joe.

* I have been informed that although these were the three men's winners, I got the order wrong! Actually, Joe was first, Dr Liaw second, and Erwan was third. I think I was influenced by the fact that Erwan was the most intimidating of them all!

There were only 3 cyclists, led by Paul. And they, too, ended up burning rubber on the road. Take it from me, folks, don't ever believe Paul when he says we're riding "slow and easy".

 After we had finished, we were all invited to a light refreshment. And while were were happily chit-chatting during the fellowship, we were pleasantly surprised when the organiser announced that they're giving away some token prizes to the winners of the run.

Thus the winners were duly announced one by one; and each time a name was called out, I started whining—that these people should be banned from future events. I was teasing them, of course. But suddenly my name was also called out for a special category for running more than I was supposed to! At first Teo couldn't decide if it was a DNF (did not finish), but eventually, being the creative joker that he is, he settled for a DNFIdid not follow instruction! For my achievement of DNFI, I won a plastic bottle, yay!

Doug had the honour of giving away the prizes. After all the winners—and one whiner—had been announced, we took a group photo, each proudly holding our prizes for a short kiasu-filled excitement!

Then later, Dr Helen turned up at the party. She indulged in some light refreshments too, but eventually was brave enough to try out one of the bikes on display.

What was she thinking? She may not realise it, but it's too late now—the Kipas King will never let her off the hook so easily. He will haunt her till kingdom come until she buys a bike from him!

Well, the dream has become a reality. While I was driving home, I was suddenly overwhelmed by a feeling of nostalgia. Andrew would have been proud of this day. Somehow I'm convinced that he is seeing all this and smiling from wherever he is at now...

Sunday, October 28, 2012

The Crawlies, Jason & Angry Bird

The recent episode of an uninvited guest to the “well” as reported here has an effect on Mia. And of course, it has an effect on me too—I don’t think I will ever see my toilet the same way again. You see, we are not big fans of crawly creatures, especially lizards and snakes. It doesn’t help that we’re both paranoid people.

Anyway, Mia is now beginning to wonder if the fact that the back of our house, beyond the fence, which is basically still a “jungle”, had something to do with the recent crawly visitor above. I bet if we were to conduct a thorough search at our backyard, we are bound to find many of those crawlies there!

View of the "jungle" outside our rear fence, as seen from a window on the upper floor.

In the end, we decided perhaps it’s time to do something about the “jungle”. If we could just clear the thick undergrowth and trees up to, say, 10ft or 20 ft away from our boundary, maybe that could help a bit?

We came up with an ambitious plan to carry out the project ourselves. Instead of spending our weekends using our energy running or doing other sports, perhaps we can do something more productive like slashing the thick undergrowth in our backyard. As for the bigger and taller trees, we can always borrow a chainsaw from our neighbour. Well, OK, to be honest I don’t know for sure if our neighbour has a chainsaw, but since he appears very Jason-like, I reckon that he should logically have a chainsaw in his collection?

But then after I have cut down the trees and slashed the undergrowth, there is still the problem of removing the debris. I would need help. I don’t think Jason would be keen. And my other neighbour probably has his hands full with his forsaken cats. Besides, even if he’s not, judging from his demeanor—he has a striking resemblance with Angry Bird, you see—I don’t think he’s keen to help too. After all, we would still need a truck to carry the debris away to the dumping ground which is quite far away in Kayu Madang.

In the end, looks like we don’t have a choice but to hire a contractor who has proper tools and manpower for the job. Before moving to this house a little over a year ago, we had also hired a contractor to cut down some trees in our compound. I think it was a mistake not to cut those trees outside our rear fence too then. But we have since lost the contact. I suppose Mia will spend a bit of time to locate where she kept the phone contact of the contractor. She’s extremely good with keeping things; but not so good in remembering where they are when we need them, you see. In that sense, she is very much like the squirrels, y’know. But I have faith in her—I’m confident that she’d find it somehow by the end of this year.

In the mean time, it’s not very amusing having to fix my eyes to the bottom of my toilet every time I’m sitting on it!

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Harvests Of The Blog

Long before 2007 some of my close friends have tried very hard to encourage me to start blogging. I don't have a formal training as a writer, so I was rather reluctant to start my own blog. It probably had something to do with the fear of getting my posts criticized or ridiculed by others.

I have a peculiar dry sense of humour that I can't quite explain. Sometimes ideas just come to me from who knows where! My friends had suggested that I shouldn't waste such a "talent"; that I could put it to good use by giving others a good laugh every now and then. At first, I was doubtful, but in the end, I reckoned that there was no harm to give it a go with a few posts. And if it didn't work out well, I could always end it there and then. After all, if indeed I can make others happy by entertaining them with my posts, why, then I would have done my small part in making this world a better place! That would be a good return for the time and efforts invested in my blog. So I finally spent those few minutes in 2007, putting my fingers to the keyboard, and started blogging. That, then, was how this blog came about.

It has also been suggested to me that when and if my blog ever becomes famous, I can actually make money out of it! But, y'know, I don't consider myself a very lucky person. I have missed my opportunity years ago when I practically threw away my big fortune as reported here. So from the very beginning I never envisioned this blog to be a money-making venture.

Some years have elapsed since I started this blog; and I have since posted so many articles of wide-ranging topics. I happen to know for a fact that I have won quite a fair number of loyal readers who keep coming back here over the years for their regular doses of laughter. But that is not all that I have gained from this blog—I have also found new friends who wouldn't have known me if not for this blog!

Beyond that, I'm also energized when people tell me that they're inspired by some of my posts. The thought that my posts can actually help to make profound changes for the better in other people's lives is very rewarding to me. I have often bumped into total strangers in the street, apparently regular readers of this blog, and was congratulated for having this blog. Such was the case last Sunday morning when I was out running. A stranger I met on the bridge near Yayasan Sabah said he had started running—and hoped to keep running as a routine—having been inspired by the articles in this blog!

Those were the reasons why I'm still blogging up to now, albeit less regularly than before. I thought it can't get any better; but well, I was wrong.

A little over a month ago, I joined a 100km ultra trail marathon, The Most Beautiful Thing (TMBT), which was held in Kundasang. Regular readers of this blog would know that whenever I join races, as a norm I would post articles in this blog to share the experience with my readers. But for this particular event, there was a contest where blog reviews were eligible for prizes. Well, as I had said above, I have thrown away my good fortune years ago, but since I have written the article anyway, there was no harm to just submit it for the contest.

That's why I was pleasantly surprised when I received an email from the organiser recently, informing me that I had won one of the 3 prizes for the contest, i.e. a Salomon backpack which, I was given to understand, is an expensive item. For someone who hardly ever win anything from contests—not even lucky draw prizes at an annual dinner where almost everybody can win something—winning the Salomon backpack is quite a big thing! 

Truth be told, I'm still quite lost on the excitement that the prize is a Salomon bag (I guess sooner or later I will find out why it is a sought-after bag). The many, many pockets and compartments found in the bag can be quite mind-boggling, to say the least. But I'm sure I will find some uses for them in due course. But right now I'm more excited that I had actually won something—the worth of that something regardless!

So I have harvested quite a lot of benefits and satisfaction from this blog over the years, but this is the first time I've actually won a prize for an article! I won't mind if this could be a routine too!

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Surviving A Heart Attack

I've always been active in sports since my school days. In fact, I'm getting increasingly into sports in recent years. Since I started running road marathons a few years ago, I've expanded my scope to running ultra trail marathons of up to 100km; and more recently I've gone into triathlons too. For the most part, I'm doing all these sports as a hobby, but I also join races for the excitement of the competition.

Although I don't have it in me to win races, I try my best to perform reasonably well—the idea of joining a race merely for the sake of finishing it is not very appealing to me. I can always run, say, a full marathon on a Sunday, for example, at my own slow pace; there is really no need to join races if the aim is just to finish. However, the thing about joining a race to race—as opposed to just finish—is that one has to train seriously for it. Otherwise, one is bound to end up with poor performance during the race day.

Nevertheless, sometimes there will be days when the body simply refuses to cooperate. That is perhaps a cue to take one step back to relax for a bit; maybe even take a few days' break so that the body can start fresh again.

In two weeks' time, I'm gonna attempt a duathlon in Putrajaya—The Malakoff Powerman Asian Duathlon Championship 2012—for the first time. Yesterday morning, I joined some friends for a short ride of about 50km. It was meant to be a "slow and easy" workout. But during the tail end of that workout, it suddenly became a race!

Then this morning, I went for my usual long run. It wasn't a very long run, really; just a 21km workout. But I felt very tired somehow. Even during the first few kilometres of the run, I could feel the exhaustion in my quads. By the time that I'd finished the run, I was totally spent. I arrived home feeling very weak in my legs; thinking that I'd just have a quick shower and deliberate toilet, and then probably spend the whole day in bed recuperating...

(insert commercial break here)

Elsewhere in the world, a baby monitor lizard (biawak) of perhaps 8 inches long was roaming around a nice grassy compound. And as fate would have it, the poor little fellow found its way into a cozy septic tank in the ground. It proceeded along the drain pipe (what was it thinking?), much the same way how Andy Dufresne crawled his way to freedom in The Shawshank Redemption

But instead of crawling its way to freedom, the lizard ended up in the toilet of the master bedroom. Arriving at the S-trap of the pipe, it dove through the shallow murky water and emerged on the other side. It was a different world—it was in fact the bottom of a well with smooth and slippery porcelain wall. There was a naked male human sitting on top of that well with a curious object dangling from his bottom! Apparently, he was engrossed in a flat rectangular electronic device in his hands. But after a while, the human noticed the lizard at the bottom of the well. They stared at each other—the human apparently unsure what was that thing at the bottom of the well. A few seconds later, the lizard moved its eyes, and the human whose legs were supposedly weak and exhausted from extensive workouts, suddenly found the strength to spring up from the well; heart racing like crazy. Although it was a tiny little creature, it is not very often that you'd see something alive in the well, you know.

It was unclear if that was a heart attack; but it felt very much like one! A quick action resulted in water rushing down the well, thus washing away the lizard down the pipe.

A strange encounter no doubt, but it had a happy ending—the human survived the heart attack, and the lizard is back to the septic tank where it will hopefully find its way out onto the grassy compound again, and then perhaps proceed to the nearby drain by the roadside...

Or is it still in the pipe, contemplating another visit to the well?

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Miri International Triathlon 2012

It's been about a year since I first attempted the sprint event in the Miri International Triathlon in October last year. It was a short race of an approximate 750m swim, 20km bike, and 5km run. I wasn't really seriously keen on doing a triathlon then, but I did it mainly for a friend.

I meant to attempt an Olympic Distance (OD) triathlon earlier this year, but I somehow couldn't find the right time to do it. I had quite a packed sports calendar this year—during the first half of this year, I have done a 100km ultra trail marathon, a half marathon in Brunei, a full marathon in Singapore, and a full marathon in KL. I was tempted to join some friends at the Port Dickson Triathlon, at least just to finish the distance, but in the end I decided against it because, firstly, I hardly ever joined an event merely just to "finish the race"; and secondly, I had to start training for another 100km ultra trail marathon (TMBT) of which I was aiming for a faster finish this year.

Although I haven't done an OD triathlon, I told some friends that I reckoned that to finish an OD shouldn't be harder than, say, running a full marathon. But I was ridiculed by my friends; and I was duly reminded that I haven't even conquered the OD yet! A friend, Teo, regularly reminded me that I wasn't even entitled to call myself a triathlete yet, as a sprint event is not quite up to the mark. In fact, he instructed me to remove my profile photo on facebook, because according to him, people (especially women) might just mistake me for a triathlete! That photo seemed to annoy him immensely somehow. By the way, that photo wasn't a fake—it was really taken during the sprint event in Miri last year, and I made no claim that I have done an OD triathlon before.

Anyway, sooner or later it was time to walk the talk; I had to prove that I could do an OD. And the closest event after TMBT was the Miri International Triathlon. Unfortunately, this year somehow the organiser decided to modify the distance a little longer than an OD—2km swim, 60km bike, and 15km run. But I have made up my mind to attempt a triathlon this year, so I registered for Miri.

I wasn't really worried about the bike and run, but I was rather concerned about the swim. You see, I'm not a good swimmer. 2km seemed to me like an extremely long distance in the water. I was training for TMBT, but I was able to throw in 2 swimming sessions per week as recovery between my runs. Each session was about 500m average. I had never swam anywhere near 2km in the open water.

The night before the race last Sunday, I had trouble sleeping. I kept waking up thinking about all the things that could go wrong while swimming; hell, even drowning!

Well, I woke up early and ate some egg sandwich which I packed the night before. Then I got into my triathlon outfit and went down to the transition area and secured a nice spot for my bike. Soon, the rest of my friends appeared one by one. After setting up our bikes and other stuff, we made our way to the beach where the swim was to start. There, we took some photos to pass the time.

From left: Paul, me, Ahmadul, Teo

Paul was all pumped up for the race. But Teo opted not to do the individual event because of an injury. Instead he decided to do a mixed relay—Janna would swim, Doug would cycle, and Teo would run. Ahmadul, of course is not new to this sport; he has been doing it for many, many years.

There were a few of us from Sabah. And the main attraction were of course Amelia and her daughter, Janna, in the foreground for obvious reason.

I was lucky that it was low tide that morning, and we could wade a little further into the sea, resulting in a shorter swim distance. I had estimated that I'd finish swimming 2km in about an hour, but I came out of the water after 2 loops in about 32mins. The moment I was out of the water, I felt a big relief. My biggest phobia was over, and I could focus fully on the bike and run.

The first thing I did when I arrived at my bike was to eat an energy gel and chased it down with a gulp of water. This was in anticipation of an impending climb shortly after the start of the bike leg. Then a quick mechanical procedure of putting on my helmet, my sunglasses, my bib around my waist, grabbing 2 packets of energy gels, I took my bike off the rack and started pushing it up a short wooden ramp. Anslem and Doug were already there. As soon as I passed the white line, I mounted my bike and started pedalling. Only when I was already on my bike, according to my plan, I started to relax and catch my breath. While moving slowly I put my feet into my shoes. Doug came passing by a few seconds later, and I told him to go ahead while I spend a few minutes to relax.

About 3 minutes later, it was time to work hard again. As I made the loop after the traffic lights, I started to build up speed. I had by now gotten used to the aerobar on my bike. I maintained an approximate 32km/h until I got to the hill. There I pushed a little; even out of my saddle to gain a bit of lost time. It wasn't a particularly tough climb. And once I reached the top, it was a pleasant downhill ride on the other side, even reaching almost 60km/h down that stretch. After that it was mainly flat for many km and I maintained between 33-35km/h. There were several riders tailing me from behind, but I did not mind the work. All the while I felt strong and perhaps I could go a little faster, but I kept reminding myself that there's still the run to reckon with after this!

Well, I was wrong; it was perhaps 25km into the ride, I started feeling a little tired. I ate an energy gel and the rest started to overtake one by one. I tailed them for a while until I realised that they were only doing 30km/h. So I overtook again and went into the leading position for that pack.

As we approached the turning point, the power couple, Anslem and Amelia, caught up from behind. I had expected that they would catch up around midway during the bike leg. I was kinda a little tired then, but although I could go faster, I decided to follow from behind. Anslem tried to do the work for Amelia, but he was too far in front for the most part. There was a good dose of undulating hills, but it was OK for my legs. A little tired but bearable.

Looking at my speedometer, I took another gel at about 50km, as I was expecting another hardwork to climb the hill as we approach the end of the bike leg. When we finally arrived at that hill, Anslem suddenly increased his speed. Getting out of my saddle, I increased my speed too, thus leaving Amelia and the rest behind. But halfway up the hill, I could feel my quads beginning to complain. I decided not to push too hard, but I maintained my pace to the top of the hill. Then the long way down the hill, passing the roundabout, and as I was approaching the final stretch before the junction to the transition again, I unstrapped my shoes—feet out and ready for the transition.

A few minutes earlier, Doug had arrived at the end of the bike leg—I fancy his aero helmet must have caused something of a stir.

I arrived at the transition again just a few seconds after Anslem. There wasn't much time to waste. First, the helmet came off, thus correcting my mistake a year ago, when I started running with my helmet on! Then I grabbed my last energy gel. Gulped a bit of water, and started running.

Paul was already some minutes ahead of me.

And so was Teo in his trademark full-accessories outfit.

I had trouble moving my feet, and I had to focus really hard. It was like trying to learn how to run! The sun was already high up in the sky, and I could feel my skin slowly roasting.

The power couple were not very far behind me, Anslem was still escorting Amelia.

It was probably a good idea to run together with Amelia, as I might have been able to forget about my exhaustion just seeing her outfit—or the lack of it—but I was also a bit concerned about getting last in my category!

This is kinda embarrassing, but I was so tired that I was only able to run a 6mins/km pace under the hot sun. The last few km was a struggle. I was reduced to a walk several times, but as I approached the final stretch along the beach, I knew that I had my first triathlon in the bag. 

My homestretch run wasn't a sprint as I would have liked it to be...

But I was happy to cross the finish line in 3:44. And now I wonder—it might be possible to shave a few minutes off that time. Now I need to come back next year to improve a little bit.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Pets & Names

It's been like a hundred years ago since my school days when life revolved around memorizing the periodic table, or math formulas; perhaps coupled with frequent nightmares of my teachers casting a spell on me, thus transforming me into Buku Matematik Gunaan. Oh! those were the days. 

It's rather strange when I come to think of it, but back then my Bahasa Malaysia (Malay language) was much better than my English! In fact, to a certain extent, sometimes I think my Malay is still better than my English today! But only sometimes—at other times, I feel my knowledge in Bahasa Malaysia is way too outdated. 

I'm not sure what has happened to the language over the last few decades since I left school. Perhaps it went through a kind of modernization process; or maybe there was some sort of mind shift in the way those who consider themselves as experts in the language, but I find the questions that they ask in the exams these days are quite outrageous; and I'm trying my best to be nice here. Consider this question which is found in my daughter's workbook (she is in Primary 4)—click on the photo to get a better view:

The task is to fill in the blank with the best answer (paling sesuai) from the 4 given choices, A to D. Now, before choosing the answer, one must first understand what the whole thing is about. The question tells the reader that "Siti is crying because ________ died after [it] was knocked down by a car." 

What was it that was knocked down by the car? Well, it can be anything at all—it might have been a person or an animal that Siti liked so much. But in this case, it's quite likely that the question is about a pet. The reason that it's most probably a pet is because the available choices for answer are not likely names for people!

While I was thinking about pets in general, I suddenly thought about my friend, Eric. I have of course posted about Eric in the past, although not relating to pets. Eric has a curious inclination whenever it comes to pets. While most people would keep, say, a gold fish as a pet, he would rather keep an ikan toman. Instead of keeping say a cat, he'd keep an iguana as a pet. I dare say he likes exotic pets, you see.

So anyway, it occurred to me that Siti's pet might have been anything ranging from an iguana to a hamster, to a python; hell! even a mouse named Ben. I once had a pet dog named Boomer. A friend of mine had a pet dog too; he named him Nitro. Yet another friend had a pet cat that had stripes, and he named that cat Tiger. Some years ago, my sister, Bridget, had a pet dog which she named Samy Vellu; and another named Rafidah Aziz. But of course admittedly Bridget is weird in her own special way. You see, when it comes to names for pets, it can be almost anything at all. If, for example, my pet is an iguana, maybe I would name it Sang Rangkak, and less likely Pak Belang. But if it's a cat that had stripes on its body like a tiger, then I might name it Pak Belang. On the other hand, if it's a dog or cat that had black spots on its body, then I might name it Si Tompok.

I'm thinking this kind of question is really a no-brainer, and I'm not sure what it's trying to achieve with the students, really. I'm hoping perhaps some of the readers of this blog can suggest a good reason or purpose of this question, please?